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GFH denies merger talks

MANAMA: Bahrain-based Islamic investment bank Gulf Finance House (GFH) yesterday denied it is was in talks to merge with Kuwait's First Investment Bank or any other bank, dismissing a media report.

"All the rumours in this regard are erroneous and completely without foundation," it said in a statement.

"Gulf Finance House would like to assure its shareholders, investors and clients that it has no plans to merge with any bank or financial institution and continues to operate as a standalone Islamic investment bank," it said.

Kuwaiti paper Al Watan reported earlier yesterday that GFH and First Investment have started to evaluate assets ahead of a merger expected to take place at the end of the quarter, citing unidentified sources.

GFH also denied rumours it was about to lay off staff.

"Gulf Finance House would like to clarify there is no truth to the rumour that it is either laying off expat staff or not renewing their contracts," a spokesman for the bank said.

GFH is an Islamic investment bank that has focused on developing and arranging financing for large infrastructure and real estate projects in the region, sectors which have been hit by the global economic downturn.

The bank is now trying to diversify by building up private equity, asset management and venture capital business lines, after it posted two consecutive quarterly losses.



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